Hutchison Likely to Remain in the Senate

Via Arjun Jaikumar comes the news that Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison will not likely give up her seat in the United States Senate as a part of her challenge to incumbent Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Republican sources in Washington, D.C., on Monday predicted that the Texas Republican will continue to serve in the Senate, resigning only if she wins the Lone Star State governor's mansion in November 2010. Hutchison had been expected to resign her Senate seat in the coming months to focus on her campaign full time.

Should Hutchison still decide to step down, she would likely do so at the end of this calendar year, setting up a May 2010 special election to fill out the remainder of her current term, which expires in 2012. Gov. Rick Perry (R) would presumably appoint someone to replace Hutchison in the interim, as state law empowers him to do.

Arjun writes that this news is "obviously disappointing," but I'm not certain I would go that far.

Little doubt the Democrats would rather have a crack at the seat with Hutchison not running than with her in the race, because open seat elections are almost always easier than ones featuring incumbents and because Hutchison is by almost all accounts popular in the state.

Yet it is arguable whether 2010 would necessarily be a better cycle to make a run at the seat than 2012, as midterms tend to be more difficult for the party in power than Presidential election years. What's more, two more years of demographic changes in Texas, during which time the Democratic-leaning Hispanic population gains an increasing amount of electoral power, isn't likely to lessen Democrats' chances in the state.

So, yes, this news -- if it pans out -- would mean that the Democrats wouldn't have a shot at Hutchison's Texas Senate seat just yet. But I'm not entirely convinced that that would be a bad thing...

Tags: Governor 2010, Senate 2010, texas, TX-Gov, TX-Sen (all tags)



Re: Hutchinson Likely to Remain in the Senate

Yet it is arguable whether 2010 would be a better cycle to make a run at the seat than 2010...

Wouldn't be much of an argument, it seems to me.

by Steve M 2009-03-17 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Hutchinson Likely to Remain in the Senate

Typo. Thanks.

by Jonathan Singer 2009-03-17 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Hutchinson Likely to Remain in the Senate

Actually, doesn't this set up the best of all possible situations? In November 2010, Hutchinson herself will probably be on the ticket for Governor, along with all the House and state-level races. The Republican lean of the state gives any Republican an edge at the state-wide races - which would include a Senate seat. However, if I read the Texas statutes correctly, then it looks to me like Hutchinson, upon resigning her Senate seat after winning, would then have to call a special election for the spring of 2011 and could only appoint a temporary replacement until then. In a low-turnout election, anything can happen - and we might manage to get a Democrat into the seat on the strength of a good ground game. And then there might be some incumbency benefits playing out in 2012, with Obama on the ticket for his second term.

by realnrh 2009-03-17 07:15PM | 0 recs
Forget About Texas
      I've been hearing about how Texas is moving Democratic demographically since 1974. The brutal fact is, non-Hispanic Texas Whites went for McCain 73-26, and for Cornyn 72-27; in 1996 they went for Phil Gramm 69-30. It's true that the White non-Hispanic share of the vote fell from 71 to 63% over that 12-year span, but it's also true that Republicans have gained in their share of the Hispanic vote, from Gramm's 21% to Cornyn's 35%, and the Hispanic share of the vote only increased from 17% to 20%. That means that the Democratic margin in votes cast by Hispanics is actually smaller now than it was 12 years ago. They bought Bush's act, giving him 59% in 2004.
    Texas is just a drain on resources. It's easier to see how we get to 66 Senate seats without Texas than with it: take our 58 now, add Lieberman's seat in 2012, and replace the following Republicans: Gregg, Voinovich, Grassley, Bond, Burr, Martinez, and Ensign. All but Bond come from states Obama carried, and you could probably run successful campaigns in New Hampshire, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, and North Carolina for what it would take to run a losing campaign in Texas.
by Ron Thompson 2009-03-18 07:47AM | 0 recs

    And it's Hutchison. Not Hutchinson. Hutchison.

by Ron Thompson 2009-03-18 07:48AM | 0 recs


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